Stripey Simplicity 8342

Trying to write a post before the lovely weather goes away has proven a little tricky so I’m currently typing in my car before work starts! Every day I have to leave 2 hours to get to Stockport and find a parking spot but when I catch some good luck it takes an exceptional 1.5hrs and I get the sweet delight of bonus podcast listening, a breakfast snack window or typing time.

almond rock s8342 simplicitybyme simplicity8342 diypinup retrosewing rockabilly

Today I’m sharing my version of Simplicity 8342. You’ve probably seen this top crop up on my social media a few times. I made it for my birthday last year and it’s a great summer item. It’s sold out on the Simplicity site but I bet you’ll find it elsewhere online. I’m wearing it here with my turquoise denim A-line skirt, made from a pattern we gave away on issue 44 of Love Sewing (also sold out, sorry!).

almond rock s8342 simplicitybyme simplicity8342 diypinup retrosewing rockabilly

Simplicity kindly sent me a copy of this pattern for free when I made major googly eyes at it. It was part of the Summer Sewing Challenge where everyone could claim a free copy but as I couldn’t enter (work conflict) I was super pleased to still be allowed a copy. The top features an empire line bodice with keyhole and front ties, elastic back channel and different sleeve options. There’s a great pair of high waisted capris included for stretch fabrics and a wiggle skirt with sewn on buttons and frill hem details.

The top is super quick to put together and is a major stash buster! I used some breton striped jersey from Empress Mills that was left over from a t-shirt I made for work. It’s a rather thin viscose jersey that isn’t very stable but the stripes are great for a fun vintage pinup nautical feel.

almond rock s8342 simplicitybyme simplicity8342 diypinup retrosewing rockabilly

The bow is constructed by self lining the upper bodice and then the wrong side can show as you tie the bow. The bow isn’t so narrow that it creates any bother turning things out, you just need to trim your seam allowance nicely. Don’t expect a super crisp point on your ties.

The fit for a small bust like mine is a touch roomy. Everything is secure but there’s probably more space than you actually need for an A cup. Empire lines where the seam line ends in a point can be a little tricky for some sewists I know, but this project is super simple as the keyhole means you don’t have to pivot around a point!

almond rock s8342 simplicitybyme simplicity8342 diypinup retrosewing rockabilly

I’m pleased I matched the stripes down the side seams but the area I fell down on is the centre back seam… though I should have gotten rid of it really if I’d had my wits about me. My elastic channel in the upper back edge could be tighter too. Oh the failure! Don’t look at that white zipper head either please (lazy seamstresses don’t always wait for the right colour zipper to arrive).

almond rock s8342 simplicitybyme simplicity8342 diypinup retrosewing rockabilly

Next time I’ll make the classic straps rather than the halter. And I’ve got a lot of jersey scraps that should be large enough! I also made a toile of the trousers but never stitched them up so need to rectify that right??

For some more swoony versions see Abi in floral fabulousness and stripes, plus OMG LEMONS and here’s a dress hack to wolf whistle at!

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McCall’s 7547 dungarees

Happy heatwave everyone! This glorious arrival of the sun has boosted my spirits like you wouldn’t believe. Work is unbelievably manic, the wedding admin is piling up and I haven’t been sleeping well at all. What’s keeping me going is that bolt of vitamin D, a daily zma tablet and some therapeutic sewing when I can… plus oreo cookies. Something else that’s pretty cool is we’ve set up a craft club at the office, where every Wednesday we take our various crafts into the boardroom and chat and work away creatively as a group. Each magazine produced by the company is run by a crafter so we all look for opportunities to work on projects and share our knowledge with other people. I’ve played with macrame, failed at crochet and knitted most of a snuggly blanket. I generally do embroidery on my lunchtime and then help with other people’s dressmaking queries but with the big boardroom table doubling as a cutting table I was able to prep most of this project in a week of lunches.

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

Now the one thing I never thought I’d make is dungarees. I got pretty tempted last year by a skinny jeans version in H&M but when I tried them on in the shops they gave me ginormous love handles due to the cut of the waist and I got scared again. Then we decided to run M7547 as one of the free patterns on Love Sewing 53 I thought I better suck it up and give them a go. I was convinced by the fact that I am forever in love with my high-waisted jeans and this pattern features a high-waist style. I’m only 5ft 4 and I think the high waist makes me look waaay taller than that. I could hear you thinking – Wow Amy looks as tall as Rachel Pinheiro – but it’s all a trick of the eye!

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

These McCall’s dungarees are super quick to make because there’s no fly front zipper which are great to make but not as speedy as a good old lapped side zipper. You do need to do a bit of topstitching but if you do this in the same colour thread you don’t have to swap over your machine and can stay on track. The directions don’t include how to finish your seams so thinking ahead and jumping onto your overlocker is necessary which does take you out of the flow. As is normal for me, I pinned everything I possibly could then did a mass sewing session, then repeated this until they were done.

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

I made a straight size 12 of the skinny jean version but could do with a smidge more length in the upper body and a smidge less width and length in the legs. The shoulder straps are very short if you ask me and it would be best to extend them a good inch then cut off any excess once you’ve tried the assembled dungarees on. I omitted the pockets due to lack of denim too.

almond rock m7547 dungarees abakhan mccalls

My brace kit was from Minerva Crafts (salvaged from a disastrous dungaree dress that never got blogged) and I have a thousand jeans buttons in my sewing room so found some that matched. This dark indigo denim was actually from the Abakhan remnant’s bin and has a slight flaw which I placed at the ankle level on the back so it was even less noticeable. It has great stretch recovery and has held it’s colour during several washes but it could be a bit less stretchy and it attracts fluff LIKE CRAZY! So infuriating. You can’t see the fluff in the main photos but check out the close up back shot; It’s there mocking me.

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

Kerry said I had a Rosie the Riveter vibe going on which is mega fun! We played it up on set haha. Her floral sateen version is amazing, go check out the review (I think she’s posting it today or tomorrow!). I used a frilly sleeved version of New Look 6808 to balance out my top and wore my red loafers. The lack of pockets sort of makes my crotch area look HUGE which is endlessly cringeworthy in photos but you forget when you’re wearing them… until I try and put my phone in the back pocket! Ho ho I made you look at my crotch, you filthy scoundrel!!

almond rock dungarees m7547 mccalls abakhan

I’m definitely going to use this pattern to make a pair of skinny jeans as I really enjoyed making my last pair of jeans but got fatigue by the end and these felt much quicker. I also have a copy of the new Megan Nielsen Ash jeans which look great so will also make those later this year. First though I need to find some great quality denim! Katie is a wonderful source of inspiration in this respect but please send me details of high quality stretch denim suitable for jeans!! I saw some lovely stuff on Fabric Godmother and Guthrie & Ghani but would love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up with suggestions in the comments!

almond rock ash jeans megan nielsen

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All you need is LOVE… and a G&T

Hello everyone. It’s nice to be typing today as I’m feeling rather deaf and croaky from some mysterious lurgy that hasn’t fully taken hold (thank god) but is making me feel pretty crummy. Whenever I’m feeling sorry for myself, I love indulging in a hot bath and a g&t to cheer myself up. Sewing always makes me happy but some days there’s just not the time to get started before you have to stop! Other things that perk me up are good looking plants, a Fox’s chunky choc chip cookie (the ones that are half coated in chocolate and are life changing), a cuddly cat, watching my fella do the swish swish dance and Summer Breeze by the Isley Brothers. Even just writing that list lifts my spirits.

Almond rock cat plant marks and spencers

There’s not been much sewing I can share online or on social media but hopefully you’ve been enjoying tidbits from my honeymoon sewing activity and my embroidery. I thought I could share a hoop today. I am a huge fan of Amanda’s work and the Brynn and Co brand! And I actually mentioned the LOVE embroidery hoop pattern on the blog before. Well surprise surprise, I’ve finally finished it. YAY!

Almond rock brynn and co love embroidery negative space

It actually came as a free kit with Mollie Makes just before Christmas too, so I got to see pictures of other people stitching it before I got started which helped me plan my version. I decided to use the same colours as the pattern suggests to get that great mix of contrast but I may make it again in other shades. There’s a beautiful lilac version on Hello Hooray’s blog – Clare’s blog is amazingly inspiring and colourful so go check it out.

The hoop comes together really quickly because you’re repeating a few key stitches but then the magic of the negative space lettering shines through. When I do embroidery I work in one length of colour and when it runs out I switch to another colour… even if I haven’t finished that section. This helps me stay energised with the piece instead of getting burned out on a load of green work, or exhausted with French knots.

Almond rock brynn and co love embroidery negative space

On the Love hoop you’ll master satin stitch on curved leaf edges that still need to finish in a crisp shape around the letters. The French knots add a lovely texture and I like to do a double knot to really make them pop. A little bit of split stitch makes the blue stems stand out and I went off book and used lazy daisy stitch for the lime green leaves.

Almond rock brynn and co love embroidery negative space

The mix of zesty green and teal green is really satisfying – like the right kind of clash. The blue looks really fresh in the mix. Most of the Brynn and Co designs are more traditional which makes this colour palette really grab your attention. There was also a limited run with this design as a needle catcher which is a fun idea to show your needles some love heehee. Fingers crossed they come back in stock.

Almond rock brynn and co love embroidery negative space

Next up in terms of embroidery I’m working on this adorable cat from the DMC pattern archive! I decided to use black felt instead of long and short stitch to speed things up. I’ve prickstitched the cat onto the background and will start filling him(?) in with fun colours.

Almond rock dmc cat embroidery

Hope you like the hoop! And feel free to steal any of my perk up tricks if you think they’ll help you. I mean who wouldn’t be happy with a gin in one hand, a biscuit in the other, belting out “Oh Summer Breeeeeeze” while in the bath ?

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Speckled Colette Anise

Hi everyone! Since the weather matches my blogging schedule (sporadic) I thought I’d share a long overdue finished jacket. As some of you will know from my social media posts I have around 40 unblogged makes. Thankfully five of them have been photographed but I still need to find some blogging time which is proving difficult. Let’s crack on then shall we!

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

If you’ve considered making a jacket as a step into tailoring I heartedly recommend the Colette Patterns Anise Jacket. It has enough new techniques for someone wanting to learn outerwear but not too many that you can get overwhelmed. I in fact made my first version when I was very much an adventurous beginner, in 2013! I copied my favourite blue coat and was pretty chuffed with the results… see my fabulously grainy photo below if you don’t have time to click through. I thought given all those years of experience I’ve managed to accumulate it would be interesting to see how I found the pattern four years later (yep this jacket is a year old people).

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

Let’s start by saying the sewalong for this jacket is superb. The welt pockets and bound button hole tutorials are excellent and work on many other garments. Probably doesn’t need to be said but welt pockets are super lovely to make but not great for putting your hands in on a bitter English day. The way the back seams curve to match the sleeve seams at the armhole is also my sign of a superior coat. It drives me crazy when they’re close but intentionally not aligned! Also having made several coats since this I realise how special it is to have a separate pattern piece for interfacing the the roll line. The collar is kind of a pain in that it refuses to neatly meet at the centre front due to the way the buttons strain and move. It still comes together pretty nicely and the clean finish you get by hand sewing everything closed at the armholes and hem is very neat inside.

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

Finding the right interfacing is a mission though and I’m less happy with the boucle version compared to my melton. I was trying to find something that would keep the boucle weave secure but offer the right support and I think I went too stiff. It’s most noticeable to me at the collar where I can feel it sitting slightly unhappily but I think it looks fine. There’s not a lot of help out there for picking interfacing (no magic unicorn saying you must buy this specific weight and brand) because it all depends on your chosen fabric. The only tip I can offer here is that you’re looking to support not harden the fabric or add too much weight. And remember cheap fusible interfacing isn’t built to last and will bubble and unstick itself over time, so if you’re keen to keep your jacket or coat around, invest in the branded stuff!

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

Let me share two bits of wisdom I learnt from making both coats. Number one – don’t use covered buttons, no matter how confident you are that the wool is safely enclosed inside. Years later, your buttons will pop apart from the strain and embarrass you in front of your peers. Not pretty. Number two – If you’re not a delicate dresser, use a lining with a tiny amount of stretch. I’m not talking a super spandex mix fabric, but just something with a little give. I always pop the armhole seams on my lining by wrestling myself in and out of my jackets without care. The jackets were I’ve used stretch satin have faired much better. Last tidbit – ALWAYS ADD A HANGING LOOP.

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

My wool was picked up at an excellent open day at Beyond Measure. Grace had sourced small remnants from a Lancashire mill; Offcuts and end bolts, plus colour coordinated bundles. I succumbed to this smooth soft and almost glossy boucle wool with flecks of bright yellow and blue running through. It was £30 for a 1.6m piece, enough for the jacket with nothing to spare! The lining was chosen to match the yellow flecks as good old B&M Fabrics on Kirkgate outside the market. Every time I see it the super flash of gold makes me giddy. Last but not least those fancy polished metal buttons were from Totally Buttons, an excellent online shop.

almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

It’s a great little jacket and fun pattern to follow. I’m also super grateful past-Amy taped together the PDF and worked out all the fit kinks so I could just crack on and sew the new version!! I’m pleased I finally got to share it with you. I’ll try not to wait so long to post again, but while I’m gone maybe have a read of these lovely Anise jackets.

I love Nicole’s choice of wool, removable faux fur collar anyone?, and let’s swoon at some minty perfection. Visit the sewalong pinterest board for more inspiration!

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Carline chambray Elisalex

Have you ever owned a fabric you’ve been too terrified to cut into? I think a lot of us have been there. It can be because it’s so beautiful or so rare or it cost you so much or it represents something much bigger about your sewing status.

I put fabrics up on a pedestal all the time, it can be a £40 silk or a £2 polyester. Its a real problem!

For me this Liberty print ticked so many of those fear boxes; it’s rare because I’ve never found Liberty chambray anywhere other than one Japanese etsy seller. It cost me a bit to buy it and ship it over as you might imagine. And it’s utterly beautiful so I wanted it in my Carline dress family.

 Almond rock liberty carline elisalex by hand london

I decided a safe bet would be to sew a pattern I’d made before but with a few tweaks. I’d loved making the Elisalex because of the great fitting princess seams and wanted to try adding sleeves to make the dress more versatile. I skipped the instructions for the sleeve insertion and used the clean insertion method which I’ve used a few times – video close up here. I really should post my own version of this tutorial as I think the original post photos are a little hard to see.

With this technique the sleeve is fully enclosed in the bodice lining for a very professional finish. The draft of the sleeves is excellent by the way!

I also swapped out the skirt pleats for gathers as I think the pleats fell a little funny on my lower half.

Almond rock liberty carline elisalex by hand london

Seeing photos of the back still makes me smile with it’s gorgeous swooped neckline… makes me sad I can’t see my back when I wear it! Thought I’d need some kind of flamingo or giraffe neck for that to be possible. For the zipper I’m not over the moon with my invisible zipper. Even after installing what feels like a thousand, there are just some that don’t want to stay hidden at the intersections of the seams, even when everything has been graded and stitched properly. This is why my heart belongs to lapped zippers. I might unpick and redo.

Almond rock liberty carline elisalex by hand london

As you saw at the start I thought I’d copy Gertie and make a sailor inspired number but changed my mind as I lay the binding on. Maybe it’s plain but I love it. And if down the line I want to fancy it up I can hand-stitch trim on top!

What do think? Add some trim or leave it plain?

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